How to Choose A Lead Magnet

By Jamie McSloy / February 9, 2018
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How To Decide Your Lead-Magnet

I worked on a project a while back with a person who wanted advice on the lead magnets they should use.

I made sure she avoided a couple of big errors:

  1. Making a lead magnet that’s inconsistent with the rest of the funnel
  2. Trying to do too much and be too vague with her lead magnet

Let me elaborate on those things in this article.


Ideally, your lead magnets will be related both in subject to the upsell and also in terms of the medium you use.

So lead magnet ideas for a video course might be:

  • A cheat sheet
  • A shorter video about a specific issue
  • A walkthrough guide to how to use the course (or what’s in it)

But at no point do you have to switch from video to long-form written content. If you have a customer base that doesn’t support reading, then there’s no point.

Whereas if you’re selling a written course, your lead magnet ideas might be:

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  • One free chapter
  • A checklist (there’s a reason these are popular across the board)
  • Ten reasons to do X
  • Ten mistakes for people who do X
  • How to solve a particular problem

Why Should You Use Lead Magnets That Are Similar Media?

Some people hate reading. Some people hate writing.

Others love podcasts but hate video and some people need to learn by actually doing stuff.

This is all basic stuff and you all know it already.

The thing is though, you can’t try and tempt someone onto a list by giving them something they don’t want.

Your product determines this, because you obviously target the people who are going to buy your product.

If you don’t, then you’re going wrong with your marketing.

So if you are selling a course about writing books, for instance, there’s absolutely no point in selling it to people who can’t read.

Now, where people go wrong is that they create opt-in deals and lead magnets without regard to their product.

If you’re selling someone a course they’ll have to read, then chances are that people who like reading will be interested. So you give them a lead magnet that involves reading. It gives them a taste of what’s to come.

If you give them a free podcast in order to sell your written course, then they might neglect to sign up. Not because they hate the product, but because they don’t like podcasts.

Be consistent.

Don’t Overcomplicate Your Lead-In

Products can be as complicated as you want them to be. Ideally, you’ll fall into one of two camps:

  • Sell a product based on solving an issue so thoroughly and entirely that you hit all the emotional points
  • Sell a product that solves many problems so as to attract as much of the target market as possible

With a lead magnet, you don’t want to attempt this.

It’s too costly and less effective than the alternative.

The alternative is to create a lead magnet that solves a single issue for a single person in your target market.

Let’s say you’re the best dog trainer in the world. So you create a product that’s comprehensive and will let you train every type of dog, no matter how old.

You would create a lead magnet that’s called “Step by Step Method on How to Teach An Old Labrador New Tricks.”

Will it work for pitbulls? Yes.

Will it work for puppies? Sure.

But those aren’t the point. The point is that with the hyper-niche-specific lead magnet, you can target one part of the market perfectly. You will be able to write the lead magnet from the point of view of an old Labrador’s owner and speak to their specific issue.

If people grab this lead magnet, you’ll get them to convert highly.

If nobody grabs the lead magnet, you know you can forget about the demographic for now.

This is more effective than a fifteen-page guide that tries to fix all the problems it’s taken you a whole course to fix in one go.

Final Thoughts

In summary, you want your lead magnets to be the following and do the following:

  • Be specific to one niche within a target market
  • Solve the problem comprehensively
  • Be in the format that the audience is looking for
  • Talk specifically to that one segment using their specific language
  • Follow their general pattern of behaviour

That about sums up how I’d approach creating a lead magnet, along with looking at what everyone else in your niche is doing and doing a better version of that.

Also remember that lead magnets are part of the wider funnel and the important thing with funnels is that they’re consistent.

Oh, and you want your lead magnets to be easy to create because they’re perfect for split-testing.